Overview of OSH and related policies, strategies and programmes addressing the challenges of an ageing workforce - Cyprus

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There is no specific OSH policy, strategy or programme in Cyprus that directly relates to the health and safety of older workers. Occupational health and safety of older workers is covered indirectly though the broader area of legislation on OSH.

Initiatives from government/government-affiliated organisations

Occupational health and safety

Based on the Commission Communication ‘Improving quality and productivity at work: Community strategy 2007-2012 on health and safety at work’, Cyprus designed the Strategy of Cyprus on Safety and Health at Work for the Period 2007-2012’[1], which aimed, amongst other things, to reduce the frequency of occupational accidents by 25%.

Based on the Strategy, an Action Plan for the establishment and operation of a Workers health Surveillance System was developed by the members of the Pancyprian Safety and Health Council to implement actions by various stakeholders for achieving the objectives of the Strategy. The Action Plan required the operation of a suitable and adequate Labour Inspection System and Work Health Surveillance System, the introduction of the principle health promotion at work and participation in the programmes of the ENWHP, and the promotion of procedures to report on occupational diseases and to collect relevant data and information.

The results of the Strategy and its Action Plan were considered successful – the incidence rate of work accidents decreased by over 27% - and were therefore used for the preparation of the new Strategy, covering the period 2013-2020. The Cypriot Strategy for Safety and Health at Work 2013 - 2020[2] was agreed in July 2014 and aims to continue the improvements in the levels of safety and health at workplaces, further strengthen the OSH system and fully implement the EU Directives. Moreover, the new Strategy:

  • Promotes close cooperation with social partners and other stakeholders;
  • Enhances scientific progress and research;
  • Promotes prevention and fosters a culture of safety and health;
  • Mainstreams Safety and Health at Work in other Policy Sectors;
  • Introduces and applying an appropriate health surveillance system; and
  • Provides an adequate Labour Inspection System.

The Strategy specifically focuses on micro enterprises, i.e. those with fewer than 10 employees, which represent the vast majority of businesses in Cyprus. Moreover, the new strategy emphasises the dangers of psychosocial factors and musculoskeletal disorders. The implementation of the new Strategy will again be ensured through the prepared Action Plan[3].

Employment

The Cyprus Department of Labour provides non-discriminatory services to job seekers who are entitled to access the labour market for integration, review and retention in employment. Therefore, older people can, inter alia, register as job seekers and renew their registration at designated intervals, in order to be considered as candidates for employment. Moreover, in this way they will be informed on issues related to the labour market and projects / programmes aimed at vocational rehabilitation. The Department of Labour carries out grant schemes for the recruitment of unemployed people. During the period of March 2010-2011, the scheme focused on vulnerable population groups, which included as a target group, unemployed people over 50 years of age.

Active ageing

The Social Welfare Services (SWS) of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance of Cyprus drafted a 10 year action plan for older people 2005-2015 and established a monitoring committee, which follows up its implementation. The action plan has nine pillars that cover (1) social protection system for ensuring an adequate standard of living; (2) productive use of pensioners’ time; (3) affordable and supportive environment; (4) access to knowledge, education and lifelong learning; (5) health; (6) solidarity between generations; (7) accessibility and mobility; (8) neglect, violence and abuse to the people of the third age; and (9) senior protection in the event of an emergency or disaster.

Initiatives from social partners

At the moment, in Cyprus, the social partners, individually or together within the Labour Advisory Board or the Pancyprian Safety and Health Council, have not developed any initiatives (in the recent past, ongoing or in the pipeline) related to the occupational health and safety of older workers.

Initiatives from other organisations

A Good Practices Guide on the employment of older workers was published as part of the campaign Grey Hair – Experienced Hands by the Hellenic Network for Corporate Social Responsibility and Opinion Action Services LTD[4]. The Guide cites several examples of how to ensure, in practice, good-quality and efficient employment on an equal footing for older workers. More specifically, specific cases are given of employers from all over Europe who implemented similar measures and benefitted from the contribution of workers who remained active at the most mature time of their lives. Apart from the area of workplace health and safety, good practice examples also refer to measures and practices in relation to combatting discrimination, lifelong learning and training, work flexibility and organisation, corporate responsibility and diversity of the work environment, as well as retirement. In addition to the Good Practice Guide, the campaign also included various actions, such as seminars that were carried out in cooperation with public partners and other interested bodies, the publication of informative leaflets, as well as an international conference on active ageing. The Cyprus Productivity Centre has developed programmes for the promotion of flexible forms of employment. During the programming period 2007-2013, the promotion of flexible forms of employment became accessible to a wider public, embracing groups at risk of social and economic exclusion[5].

References

  1. Department of Labour inspection, Strategy of Cyprus on Safety and Health at Work for the period 2007 – 2012. Available at: http://www.mlsi.gov.cy/mlsi/dli/dli.nsf/All/B5867AFE5104B399C2257486001DF99A?OpenDocument (Accessed December 2014)
  2. Department of Labour inspection, Strategy for Safety and Health at Work 2013 - 2020. Available at: http://www.mlsi.gov.cy/mlsi/dli/dli.nsf/All/3F10F0214F00CC0DC2257D0A0031538D/$file/HEALTH%20AND%20SAFETY%20STRATEGY%202013-2020.pdf (Accessed December 2014)
  3. Department of Labour inspection, Strategy for Safety and Health at Work 2013 – 2020 – Action Plan. Available at: http://www.mlsi.gov.cy/mlsi/dli/dli.nsf/All/3F10F0214F00CC0DC2257D0A0031538D/$file/Sxedio%20Drasis%202013%20-%202020.pdf (Accessed December 2014)
  4. Hellenic Network for Corporate Social Responsibility and Opinion Action Services LTD, available at: http://www.opinionaction.com/erga/ekstrateies-enemeroses (accessed December 2014)
  5. Flexible forms of employment, website: http://www.mlsi.gov.cy/mlsi/kepa/kepa_new.nsf/kepa18_en/kepa18_en?OpenDocument (accessed December 2014)

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